Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday, 08 January 2017: Nazareth

We begin this morning in Nazareth by visiting the Basilica of the Annunciation and other places significant in the life of Jesus’ family. We will also visit Cana, the site of Jesus’ first miracle, and Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration. Later, we will meet with an organization working with Christian and Muslim Israelis - a majority in towns such as Nazareth, but a religious minority within Israel. In the evening, we’ll return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Ok...quick update.  There is NO WAY on this earth that I'm going to be able to keep up with the bajillion events we have each day, so I'm going to highlight them now, and expand upon them later.  Like on the 85 hour flight home.  For real.  Same thing with pictures.  It's driving me nuts that we can't post our pictures, but we need the time and certain technology to work...and hey, we're in Israel. We're trying our best!  Feel free to follow me on Facebook for photos - I've been able to upload a few when wireless was working.  

HIGHLIGHTS:....from JUST today:

Apparently there are a ton of feral cats on the streets of Nazareth.  And no matter how cute they are, I'm also apparently NOT allowed to touch them.  Bummer.

Visited a water source Mary and Jesus would have frequented.  I can JUST picture Boy Jesus moaning and groaning as they carried their water buckets back home.

Discovered there are actually TWO annunciation stories (where the Angel Gabriel tells Mary "Surprise!  You're going to be a mama!). One at the stream, and then one back at Mary's house.  News to me!

A Greek Orthodox service is GORGEOUS - full of scents Americans aren't used to, language Americans aren't used to, and fancy-pants clergy wear that rivals no other!  And SINGING with the congregation IN GREEK was an experience we'll not soon forget!  Amazing!

Visited the family homes of both Mary and Joseph - the caves of their homes were preserved, and available for viewing.  Nothing like have the baptismal font IN your home!

Learned a bit more about Jesus and Joseph's vocation, and that they certainly would have traveled OUT of Nazareth to find work.  This also accounts for the vocabulary we hear Jesus using, as he wouldn't have picked up certain words (hypocrite, being one) in his hometown. 

Sat in the place where the Synagogue Jesus visited in Luke 4 once stood.  And READ Luke 4.  Having PREACHED Luke 4 a few weeks ago, I have to say I still have the shivers.  THAT was a moment of making Jesus more real to me!

Captured the last few minutes of Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation, a spectacular setting to hear the pipe organ and be a part of worship, as it IS a Sunday.  Went below to the crypt where Mary's family home was to be found.  Fascinating portrayals of Mary all around the church, each magnificent gifts from various countries.  (Pictures to come).  

We had some drivers bring us to the tops of TWO amazing mountains today:  Mount of the Precipice and Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration.  You know....shiny Jesus?  Crazy amazing views.  What I wouldn't give to retreat up there for a while!

AND THEN....oh yes, we aren't quite done YET...we headed to CANA!  THAT CANA!  The location of Jesus's first miracle of water into wine at a wedding for CANA!  We were able to watch two couples from our group renew their wedding vows and we were able to see the particular place this miracle happened.  MIRACLE!  OF!  JESUS!

Dinner was back at our hotel (delicious -  Mediterranean food is the BEST) and then off to take some wonderful pictures at the HUGE Christmas Tree near the first churches from today, then off for some coffee/dessert to end the day.

W H E W!  We are overwhelmed with the reality of traveling in the land of Jesus, and while tired and sore, we are ready to go for tomorrow's adventures.  Ready, set....SNOOZE! 

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